Co-infection with hepatitis C increases the risk of death for patients with AIDS by 50%, according to the results of a large study published in the online edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases. A fifth of these deaths were attributable to liver-related causes, five times the rate seen in people with AIDS who were not co-infected.
The investigators also found that a third of co-infected patients were unaware of their hepatitis C infection.
Few deaths in HIV-positive people were attributable to liver disease in the period before effective antiretroviral treatment became available. However, large numbers of people with HIV are co-infected with hepatitis C virus and liver disease caused by this infection is now an increasingly important cause of death among these co-infected people.